Jennie Berry's accessible stay in the North York Moors
As a wheelchair user, booking an accessible getaway isn’t always an easy or fun task, but VisitEngland has been working hard to ensure that this process is much smoother for disabled visitors. I recently visited the North York Moors with my friend Gem Turner and had a brilliant time exploring the local area, visiting some amazing eateries and trying out accessible activities. Here’s everything you need to know about our trip…
Our stay at Vale Cottage
We wanted a comfortable and wheelchair-accessible base and Wellspring Farm delivered just that. If you want to fit lots of activities into your trip, it's vital to have a cosy base to relax in the evenings after your busy days. Wellspring Farm – in particular Vale Cottage – encapsulates comfort, luxury and accessibility all in one. The farm is set on the edge of the North York Moors National Park and has over eight acres of gardens and farmland. There are plenty of stunning views as well as walkways and activities close by to ensure you are kept busy throughout your stay.
We stayed at Vale Cottage, which is their largest space and sleeps up to eight people. There are two large double bedrooms on the ground floor, plus an ensuite with a huge wetroom that has plenty of accessibility features inside. As well as lots of turning space, each room has comfortable double beds, and the main bedroom’s lowered wardrobe meant I could easily hang my clothes up. The whole cottage is incredibly spacious throughout and step-free on the ground floor. We loved the open-plan living and dining area, and the log burner came with plenty of chopped wood ready for you to light your own fire and get snug. There is also a Smart TV and plenty of DVDs for both adults and the little ones to keep you occupied in the evenings. Find more information on the accessibility features of this property.
Vale Cottage was a fantastic base for all of our activities, with all the tourist destinations within an hour’s drive of our accommodation. The property backs onto the North York Moors, with Scarborough being a twenty-five-minute drive away, offering up some of the finest fish and chips in the country. As the drives were all on country roads, we also got a chance to take in some of the stunning views across various parts of the North York Moors whilst on the road too.
We stopped off at many fabulous eateries each day, all of which were wheelchair accessible, included step-free access throughout, and had accessible toilets on site. Some of our favourites included Walkers Fish Restaurant and The Inn on the Moor Hotel. If you are stopping by The Inn on the Moor Hotel, be sure to explore the picturesque village of Goathland while you are there. The village was the filming location for Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film. Speaking of amazing scenery, there is nothing better than taking the car up to the very top of the moors, hopping out and just taking a moment to appreciate the breathtaking views.
And here is a rundown of our top picks for things to see and do whilst visiting the North York Moors…
Stop off for lunch in a cute village
Hutton Le Hole and Rosendale Abbey
The North York Moors are home to heaps of pretty villages, such as Hutton-Le-Hole, which is home to quaint little streets and some fantastic eateries. Whilst the village green isn’t wheelchair accessible, we were able to stop off at the Graze on The Green Cafe nearby, which serves excellent locally-sourced lunches and homemade cakes.Book a local lunch
Step back in time
Ryedale Folk Museum
We stopped by the open-air Ryedale Folk Museum, set over six acres in Hutton-Le-Hole. Step back in time to explore over 20 different heritage buildings and discover the North York Moors across 4,000 years of history. There is an accessible toilet on site and the option to hire mobility scooters and wheelchairs for free.Visit the museum
Whizz through a forest
If you are looking for something more adventurous and truly unique, then hiring a handbike from Dalby Forest Cycle hire is certainly one to add to your list. A few different adaptive bike options are available at the hub, and staff are on hand to assist with any questions about the various accessible routes. Each adaptive bike has power assistance if you want a more leisurely ride through the forest. You can also hire trampers and standard mobility scooters via Dalby Forest Visitor Centre.Explore Dalby Forest by bike
Learn about Dracula
We drove to the highest point overlooking Whitby Harbour to appreciate the epic views. We stopped by Whitby Abbey Visitor Centre to check out some of the artefacts and learn more about the Abbey's connection to Dracula. The centre was fully accessible and has step-free access from the parking spots to the actual centre, complete with an accessible on-site toilet. There are also induction loops at both entrances and within the shop. Please be aware that the ruins of Whitby Abbey are set on grass, which isn’t wheelchair accessible in rainy weather conditions, however, there are some ramps on the grass around the abbey. Find out more about Whitby Abbey’s accessibility.
Jennie Berry is a disabled blogger documenting her day-to-day life as a full-time wheelchair user. Follow her @wheelie_good_life.Find out more about Whitby Abbey